Tom Williams brings us all the latest search engine optimisation news, including Search Console’s new URLs, new related topics showing in SERPs, webmasters warned again on mobile redirects, and the latest Whiteboard Friday presentation.
On 20 May 2015, Google Webmaster Tools rebranded to Google Search Console. The reason Google gave for this is that the toolset is not just for webmasters, it is for hobbyists also. A year later, on 2 May 2016, Google began preparing to migrate Google Search Console to new URLs.
The URLs for the search console toolset are going to be changed from /webmasters to /search-console, to suit the rebranding made a year ago. The first to pick up on this was SEO and marketer, Dan Shure, when he posted a group of screenshots on Twitter of the new URLs.
Here is one of the screenshots showing the new URL format for the Google Search Console tools.
Google has had to warn webmasters again for manual actions on their sites. This time, the webmaster warnings have been regarding mobile sites that go against Google’s guidelines. On certain sites, the desktop version will be working fine and adhering to Google’s guidelines, but the mobile version will redirect users to a third party URL.
Google warned webmasters about this issue in October 2015, and this new warning is a reminder to webmasters to change their mobile sites to comply with Google’s rules. Google is sending out “Cloaking or sneaky redirect” manual actions to anyone who has not changed their sites to adhere to guidelines.
Some Webmasters will have purposely linked their mobile site to a third party URL, as an effort to manipulate search results. However, some of the sites being penalised by Google will have been hacked, and the third party URL is a result of hackers tampering with sites.
On 5 May 2016, Google’s John Mueller announced that the accelerated mobile pages errors tool in Google Search Console has been updated to sort AMP errors together, and give clear explanations of what AMP errors are occurring and how to fix them.
Google’s John Mueller said:
Today, we updated the categorization used there to better group similar issues, and to give you more information on the individual problems we discovered.
The new AMP error updates have been put in place already, meaning you can go into the Google Search Console and use the newly updated toolset.
Google has added a new feature to the search results pages. This new feature shows extended feature snippets in the SERPs, with additional mini snippets showing topics related to the query. Feature snippets show up at the top of search results pages in the form of a small box with a snippet of information. The new feature extends these and adds a few extra pieces of information to the feature snippet.
Here is an example of the related topic section in the featured snippet.
Google recently stated that it had removed the ability for certain airline pricing websites to show product rich snippets in SERPs. The reason for this is that certain airline pricing sites have misused product rich snippets in their data markup. Google took manual actions on a number of airline pricing sites for this offense.
Google’s John Mueller said in a recent Google Hangout:
What we did notice was a bunch of sites were using this as a way to kind of mark up a variety of products instead of just one product. So we hope that the price markup on a page is specific to one product and you are talking about a page like flights to Berlin, then that is like tons of different products, essentially. Like different flights from different locations going to Berlin, so it is very hard to say, well, it makes sense to mark that up with price rich snippets to show that in the search results because it is essentially all different kinds of products on the same page.
So that is kind of what the team took action on there. We noticed that these pages were making up multiple different types of products in a way that you would for one product.
Some of the companies Google took manual action against include TripAdvisor and Expedia.
Rand Fishkin tackled the subject of keyword research in last week’s Whiteboard Friday presentation. He shared his four-step process to discovering and prioritizing keywords.
Read last week’s SEO News Roundup: What Happened to In-Depth Articles?
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